Aji de habas secas ( Spice dried fava beans)

Aji de habas secas ( Spiced dried fava beans)

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Every time I went to visit my Dad’s side family in Colomi, I was shocked by the beauty and simplicity of everything. They grow potatoes and fava beans and we would go to visit them at harvest time. The smell of freshly dug potatoes and the crunchiness and tenderness of a fresh raw fava beans made those trips the best experiences of my childhood. They would dry some of the best fava beans and potatoes for seed and the other ones would be cooked. This is a recipe with dried fava beans, it goes so well with tiny little potatoes. Enjoy it.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 cups dry fava beans

5 medium yellow  potatoes (10 small yellow potatoes)

1/2 lb round steak

2 cups chicken broth

1 onion

1 tomato

2 tbsp vegetable oil

3 tbsp paste of red spicy pepper

1 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp cumin

1 garlic clove

1/2 tsp sugar

2 tbsp chopped parsley

1 small bunch of scallion

Preparation:

A night before measure the dry fava beans into a pot. Add boiling water and cook for a minute and drain the water. Cover with cold water and let it rest overnight.

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They will double the size and the skin should be easy to peel. Peel coverings and set aside

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Put the ingredients together for the sauce

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Cut the meat by hand in thin small sliced pieces.

Peel the potatoes and cut them in 3 pieces or keep them in a piece if they are the small.

Peel and dice the onion and dice the tomatoes into small pieces.

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Heat 2 tbsp oil and add the red spicy paste, garlic and cumin. Cook for 2 min and add the onion, cook for 5 min until onion is clear.

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Add the meat and mix. Cook for another min and add the tomatoes

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Cook for about 3 min until meat is tender, add the oregano, salt, sugar, pepper and parsley.

Mix and add the fava beans.

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Add the chicken broth and the potatoes and mix. Cover the pot and cook until potatoes are cooked. It’s so much better if you use small potatoes, they will cook faster and they are going to be bite sized.

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If it dries during this process, add more chicken broth or hot water.

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Serve warm with rice or just by itself. Top with scallions or green onion that are cut and washed. Enjoy!

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Pique a lo Macho (Pique Macho)

Pique a lo Macho (Pique Macho)

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If you say the word Pique Macho in Bolivia everyone will tell you what is it and that the best pique macho is from Cochabamba (of course I’m being biased). And everyone might also have an amazing history related to  this dish. The first day that my husband I met we went with a couple of friends to La Casa del Gordo, a restaurant very well know for its pique macho. After trying to convincing him that one dish would be enough for the 4 of us we ordered two. While we were playing cacho waiting for our food I bet Dave that there was no way we would finish the dish. When the plates arrived I remember seeing the surprised face  of Dave admiring the mountains of food. We did our best and he won the bet because after 1 hour of digging and digging we finished. The amount of meat, potatoes and locotos with their juices make this plate incredible and also made me look at this boy that I just met differently there are not to many non-bolivians that will finish and eat and entire pique macho. Enjoy it!

Serves 4

Ingredients:

2 lb top round first cut steak (any soft lean beef will do great)

8 large potatoes

4 uncured beef hot dogs (you can use pork hot dog)

4 eggs

1 large tomato

1 small red onion

1 small green pepper  (1/2 large pepper)

1 locoto or jalapeno (optional)

1/2 cup beer (I used Corona for this recipe but any light beer will work)

1 tsp white vinegar (for meat)

1 tbsp cider vinegar (for the salad)

1 tbsp vegetable oil (for the salad)

2 tbsp vegetable oil

3 cup vegetable oil to fry potatoes

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp cumin (optional)

1 garlic clove peeled and mashed (optional)

On the side

Llajua

4 slices of baguette

Preparation:

Put together the ingredients

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Peel the potatoes and cut in large wedges.

Peel the onion and slice in the juliana style (think strips), do the same with pepper and tomato

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Slice the hot dog in thin slices. Slice the hot dog giving it an edge, we don’t want them round.

Clean the meat and cut in cubes of 2 cm each side this is very important we don’t want the pieces too small or too big we want them bite size.

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Mix the vegetables together and set aside. Once all the ingredients are ready we start cooking.

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Start by frying the potatoes. You might end up cooking two batches, since we want them to cook slowly so they are crispy outside but slightly soft inside. This will help the potatoes to absorb the juices.

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While cooking the potatoes, hard boil the eggs and peel them and cut them in wedges or round shapes. I prefer wedges.

When the potatoes are half cooked start cooking the meat.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a skillet and when the oil is hot add the meat. We want to seal the edges and brown them but not burn them. This takes about 5 min

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Once they are brown add half of the salt and pepper. If you want, add the cumin and garlic, I like the flavor that this adds to the meat. Reduce the heat to medium high

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By this point the potatoes should be cooked and in the hot oil we cook the hot dogs. This step is important. We need to cook the hot dogs for about about one minute so they are nicely browned on the edges and crispy. Take to a paper towel.

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Add to the meat 1 tsp white vinegar and 1/2 cup beer and the hot dogs. If you are cooking in an electric stove you can turn off. If you are cooking in gas cook for about 1 min. We don’t want to be dry, we just want the alcohol of the beer to be reduced.

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Mix the vegetables with 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar and 1 tbs vegetable oil salt and pepper.

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Serve immediately after the meat is cooked it is important to serve  hot.

Put one layer of potatoes, add the mix of meat and hot dog and add 4 tbsp of the juices from the pan. Top with the salad and decorate with the hard-boiled egg.

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I like it as simple as this you can put mayonnaise and ketchup on top, I like putting this on the table so it’s optional for people to add. The best way to eat it is with a nice llajua and pieces of marraqueta (roll) to absorb those juices and when it gets too spicey, a good beer goes so well with it.

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There are so many variations of this dish in Bolivia but I like this way for its simplicity.

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Llajwa (Spicy Bolivian Salsa)

Llajwa (llajua)

Llajwa is a spicy sauce that we have on every table in Bolivia at lunch or dinner time.  It goes very well with almost everything! In Bolivia, instead of Jalapeño, we use a pepper call LOCOTO that has beautiful black seeds inside and instead of cilantro we use Quillquiña a plant that is similar to cilantro. But after trying different combinations, this is the closest to an authentic Bolivian Llajwa I can make in the US so far. In Bolivian, my family uses a traditional Quechua batan, a large flat stone mortar and pestle to grind the llajwa ingredients. Our batan came from my grandmother to my mother and one day it will belong to my sister and I. Llajwa is easy to make and you’ll get addicted to it in no time- ask my husband!

Serves 4

Cooking time 10 min

2 large green Jalapeño peppers cut it in half

1 large red tomato cut it 2 pieces

A handful of cilantro leaves (or it really should be Quillquiña leaves if you have them)

salt

1 tablespoon  vidalia onion chopped in small pieces (optional)

Depending how spicy you want it, you can take the seeds out of the Jalapeño. I like it spicy so I leave the seeds in.

If you are using a food processor or blender take the tomatoes seeds and reserve them to add later.

After you have the ingredients ready, put them in a food processor or a blender and chop them until they are small pieces.

Add the tomatoes seeds and salt at the end. If you want you can add the vidalia onion on top. My mom only adds the onion if the Llajwa is going to be eaten the same day.

Enjoy!!

In my last trip to Bolivia my mom made me a llawja in a batan.

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